Make a Jumble Tuft Toy – The Sunday Challenge

Have you watched our Christmas Movie ?   No?  Then click on the link below: 

    THE JUMBLES CHRISTMAS MOVIE
It features Lizzie Witch, Jumbles the cat and these cute little Jumble Tuft toys. The JUMBLE TUFTS are really easy  and fun to make.  Even very young children will be able to help. 

Once made they can be used as toys , puppets or as  decorations for backpacks.  If a magnet is sewn into the hat or foot they become even more versatile. Why not make some as presents ?  Children will love them especially when they have watched the Christmas movie. 

          Link to video instructions

Above is the link to the video instruction or you can follow the pictures below: 


 

  1. What you need


2.  Cut a piece from the leg of a pair of tights big enough to make the Jumble Tuft body plus Tufty ears. 



3.  Stuff the centre with cotton wool or stuffing from a pillow. Secure each side of the stuffing with rubber bands. 



4.  Make sure you have left some of the stuffing showing to make the Tufty ears. 



5.  Cut shoe laces to size and stick or sew to the back. 



6.  Add eyes and nose and sew or stick on a bit of hair and then the rest is left to your creativity!  Make a little hat. Add pipe cleaners for arms. Feet can be Velcro or bits of tights.  Magnets can be sewn into hat or feet. 

Insert a wooden spoon into the back and you have a puppet!  There are countless adaptations!  


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Why Science for young children ? 

Why is science important?  

Because it answers all the questions that kids ask like ‘what are clouds?’ and ‘Why is the sky blue’ and ‘Why do bubbles pop?’ 

Because it explains how the world works. Why earthquakes happen. Why we have thunder and lightening. Why we sprinkle salt on icy paths. Why food goes bad. 

Because science helps kids learn to predict, to problem solve, to research. To persevere and be patient. They learn that not everything works first time and that you learn from your mistakes. 

Because they develop their own opinions rather than being contented accepting those of others. 

Through science children learn to think about the outcome of their actions. The possible results. It motivates them to problem solve. To come up with new ideas and maybe new inventions when they grow up. It also gives them a head start in the future since creative thinkers are sought after in every field of work.

Do you like science? Are you interested in science? Do you enjoy helping your child find out the scientific answers behind his questions? Can you think of fun, practical ways to do this ? If your answer is ‘No’ then it’s probably because you had a bad experience in your early years. Perhaps you didn’t enjoy science at school?  

Primary school teachers have a huge responsibility. It is SO important that they are not just confident in their scientific knowledge but that they are really interested in science. If children are taught by people who don’t have a passion for a subject then unfortunately it is very likely that this negativity will be passed on to their young pupils. 

Research shows that children have formed either a positive or negative opinion about science by the time they are seven or eight. Once formed its very difficult to change that opinion. 

This is so sad because all children are born as creative thinkers. As scientists! They are naturally inquisitive. They want find out about the world around them. Through their play children are discovering and problem solving every minute. For them science is exciting and fun! 

So what can we, as parents do? Well, it’s unlikely you will be able to change your child’s teacher! It’s also unlikely that you will be aware of how they are influencing your child. But nurturing a child’s interest in science begins well before they go to school and once established should see them through any negativity. 

After all science is just part of our every day life. Opportunities arise every time you make bread or dry the clothes or make ice cubes or boil an egg or put soap in the bath or wipe condensation off the windows.  


Children are never too young to investigate. Watch them playing in water, in sand, with play dough, colour mixing,  building towers with bricks. Without realising they are testing volume, density, diffusion, balance, temperature, weight and so much more. This is why hands-on play is so important.   

With support and guidance and motivation a pre school child will enjoy trying to find out the answers to their own questions rather than relying and trusting the answers of others. 

But what if you are not interested in science or unsure how to help. If you can’t think of open ended questions or activities which will stimulate their interest? 

There are plenty of books and science kits and internet sites available but beware of those which require buying specialised equipment. There is no need! You probably already have everything you require in your cupboards! Also be wary of any which simply demonstrate how to carry out an investigation and provides the answer! 

Children require programmes to make them think and question.  The link below will take you to a site which does just this. 

            FUN SCIENCE FOR YOUNG CHILDREN

Jumble House Stuffed Peppers 


These peppers are so gorgeous and filling!  Served with a salad they make a delicious, easy and healthy light meal. 

They are best cooked in the oven but if you, like me, don’t have one then it is possible to  use a microwave as you will see from the video: 

The ingredients: 

Large red peppers

Onions, garlic, fresh tomatoes,

Oregano, salt and pepper

Risotto rice

Stir Fry 


At Jumble House we like our meals to be healthy AND tasty and, if you have been following our blog you will know that we also like food with a bit of a kick!  Nothing bland! 

I can’t see any point in eating food, healthy or not, if you don’t actually ENJOY it.  Food needs to look good, smell good and taste good and what could  be nicer and more tempting than colourful, crisp vegetables and plump, juice prawns! 
                         Click on this link to be tempted!
This stir-fry is crammed full of colourful vegetables and great smelling spices and herbs. I’ve substituted Tamari Sauce for Soy sauce and lemon juice for Balsamic Vinegar to reduce the sugar content but feel free to experiment! 

The ingredients 


A large thinly sliced red onion.  2/3 cloves of garlic and about 3 teaspoons of chopped fresh ginger. 

A large red pepper and some green vegetables. (Broccoli, Sugar Snap Peas, Mangetout) 

Mushrooms

A carrot cut into thin strips. ( this adds the sweetness ) 

Prawns ( you can substitute cubed chicken or Quorn ) 

Spices:  A pinch of Crushed Chillies and Cumin. I also like to add half a teaspoon of Chinese Spice. 

Sauces: Tamari and Thai Fish Sauce. Lemon Juice plus 2 tablespoons of Marsala or Sherry.

To finish: A few broken cashew nuts and chopped Coriander Leaf.    (Optional) 



Method: 

Pour a couple of tablespoons of olive oil into a wok. Heat. 

Quickly fry the onion, garlic, spices and ginger for about 3 minutes. 

Push to the sides of the wok and add the vegetables that need the most cooking.  Cook on medium heat for  another 3 minutes then push to the side and add more. Continue this process until all the vegetables are in the wok. ( I suggest adding the mushrooms last.). The vegetables should stay crisp so don’t overcook. 

Mix together 1 tablespoon of Tamari Sauce,  1 tablespoon of Fish sauce and 2 tablespoon of sherry/Marsala or similar and add to the pan with the prawns. Cook until the prawns are cooked and a nice healthy pink (if using fresh ones) or heated through (frozen variety). Taste and add more spices/liquid as necessary. 

Stir in a handful of cashews. Sprinkle with chopped coriander leaf and a teaspoon of sesame oil and serve with rice or noodles. 

48 hours in Catania 


48 Hours in Catania. Sicily.We have just returned after a wonderful couple of days in Catania, the largest city after Palermo in Sicily. 
            Click on this link to watch the video


We thought we would take advantage of the great low fares offered by Ryanair from our local airport, Perugia. 
Our flight from Perugia cost around €70 return for the two of us. It took just over one hour. 
I like flying but I am NOT a lover of airports ! The exception being Perugia!!  
To me the airport experience is usually tedious, stressful, expensive and pretty boring. Long queues. Expensive refreshments. Expensive parking. Stressful check-ins. Long distances to walk (or offen run!) ) Often not-very-helpful staff, Etc etc etc.
Flying from Perugia is GREAT! The airport is small and cosy. It’s like going home! Everyone remembers you. The staff, including the bar, customs, police, car hire, everyone …are friendly, helpful, accommodating. The appropriate word probably is HUMAN! I’ve yet to find an airport like this anywhere else ! Arent we lucky to live just thirty minutes away!!

  Above: We loved the area around Piazza Duomo. It was so full of life and character and culture. 

The flight to Catania took just over one hour and yet the Ryanair staff somehow managed to deliver their usual drinks and food and duty-free and scratch cards looking their usual smiley and stress free selves despite passengers finding it difficult to get organised! It was a late flight arriving in Catania about 9pm.

We had booked (with Ryanair) the bus … Alibus …to Piazza Stesicoro and that worked very smoothly. The driver was great and told us when our stop was coming up. It was a twenty minute transfer.

                   Above …our GREAT B&B

Getting off the bus, was, I must admit a bit of a culture shock! Coming from quiet, clean and peaceful Umbria to Sicily is well, WOW! Especially when arriving after dark. Maybe arriving from Liverpool or London or Milan would be kinder! It’s the noise and cars and litter and people and a feeling of ‘…are we safe here!’ But our concerns soon vanished . We were safe and everyone was very friendly and helpful and only too eager to help us find our B&B. In fact the people of Catania are really adorable ! It was difficult to tear ourselves away from bars and restaurants and the B&B because we just wanted to stay and chat!  

We chose B&B Stesicoro because it had such good reviews and because it was so central. We were NOT disappointed! 

Don’t be put off by the entrance down a short dark alleyway. It’s fine. The actual B&B fronts onto the piazza and it’s great fun before breakfast watching the marketeers set up every morning. 


        Above: Piazza Stesicoro. Right outside our B&B 

View of B&B Stesicoro Via Etnea is one of the busiest and most popular streets in the city, cluttered with shops and restaurants and bars. It leads to the Duomo and castle and market plus you can always see Etna! Unfortunately, because of the clouds I never got to take a good photo of this majestic volcano which towers over Catania and, according to locals remains active, erupting every summer for a week or so.  

Right outside the B&B is the Piazza Stesicoro complete with the ruins of an amphitheatre and some of the most magnificent examples of Baroque architecture you will see anywhere. Just five minutes away is a lovely green park . An oasis. Somewhere for people like me who really NEED a green break every day!

The Rooms and the location and the people are just amazing. We will definitely go again to Catania and we will definitely stay at this same B&B. The family are so lovely and do everything possible to make your stay a happy one. The rooms are large and very tastefully decorated and furnished. Everywhere is spotless. English is spoken. The air-con and WiFi works well. Breakfast is your typical Italian Prima Colazione with delicious fresh and hot pastries, boiled eggs, ham, cheese, yoghurt, fresh fruits,bread and freshly made coffee. 


    Above:  San Nicolò 

On our first day we had a good wander around the Piazza and the small roads leading from it taking in a few churches ( there are hundreds!) the university and ending up at the church of San Nicolo and the adjoining monestry. San Nicolò (above) is a very strange looking church. The bul dung began in 1702 but was never completed. It is possible to go up the tower where a wonderful clear view of Mount Etna awaits but unfortunately we arrived at the church when it was closed for the afternoon siesta and so missed this attraction. But the adjoining monetary was well worth a visit. 

       Above:  the Castle 

The Duomo On our second day we turned right onto Via Etnae and walked for ten minutes past shops and restaurants to the Piazza Duomo. This piazza is spectacular and so are the multitude of little streets leading off it. This area is so interesting and became our favourite. We really loved the huge street market which spreads out from the piazza and is open every day except Sunday. The sights, sounds and smells are incredible!  

The market From here it’s only a quick walk to the castle and to the Teatro Romano and the docks and so we were able to enjoy all of these in just one afternoon!  

We really enjoyed our two days in Catania but it was not enough! There’s so much more to see not just in the city but in the surrounding area including, of course a visit to Mount Etna. We will definitely go again and, next time, for longer! 

This is a very short account of our visit. For more I hope you will enjoy the video.
Click on this link to watch the video

Imagine …..


SUNDAY CHALLENGE 

Imagine what it would be  like to be really small.  So small you could make your home in this empty snail shell. 

Or under a rock or in a hole in a tree. 


Where  would you sleep ?  What wouid be your table?  Your cups and plates? 
How can you create this imaginary world? 

Will you write a story or a poem or perhaps make a model or paint a picture.? 

Watch the video below for more  ideas: 
             IMAGINE …………….

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